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EU calls for member states to ‘discourage’ travel from UK over coronavirus fears

Jacob King

By David Hughes, PA Political Editor

Travel from the UK to the European Union should be “discouraged” due to fears about the mutant variant of coronavirus but bans on movement should be lifted, Brussels has said.

The European Commission recommended a joint approach from EU members after individual countries imposed emergency restrictions.

The most dramatic action came from France, which closed its border to lorries crossing the Channel, leading to more than 1,500 HGVs being trapped in Kent.

The EU-wide approach recommended by the commission would allow essential travel, and transit of passengers should be facilitated.

Flight and train bans “should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions”, the commission said.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said “member states should take co-ordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU”.

But “at the same time, blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes”.

Transport commissioner Adina Valean said: “Within the EU, it is crucial that transport workers are exempted from any restrictive measures.”

Talks between the UK and France to resolve the crisis at the Channel have included discussions on testing HGV drivers.

The EU’s recommendation suggested rapid tests should be used to avoid disruption.

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